Tim. Mitch. Chris. That is all you had to know.
“Run TMC” was one of the most exciting and short-lived basketball trios that lasted from only 1989 to 1991. Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin were spectacular together in an unselfish way that produced one of the NBA’s highest scoring offenses.
The trio was known for scoring in bunches with their up-tempo style of play. They averaged 61.9 PPG in year one and 72.5 PPG in their final year. Don Nelson then dismantled the trio with his hugely controversial trade that sent Mitch Richmond up the road to Sacramento for F Billy Owens.
Twenty years later, the same Golden State Warriors look to have a similar, dynamic trio with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. Before a clever name can be created, these three will have to show their wares on the court.
Run 2.0? With the addition of Andrew Bogut and the help of David Lee, there is no reason that this perimeter band can’t replicate their forefathers.
The “T” was represented by Tim Hardaway, who was best remembered for snapping ankles with his “Killer Crossover” or the “UTEP Two-Step." Timmy was extremely quick and could break down defenses with a drive, a razor-like pass or even his “knuckleball” three-pointer.
Hardaway was the catalyst of the group, but his game depended upon Mullin and Richmond to move well without the ball and find open lanes. Timmy could easily find one of the two in the open lane or use his ball-handling skills to drive to the bucket.
During the span of Run TMC, Hardaway averaged 18.9 PPG, 9.2 APG and 2.35 SPG.
The “M” in TMC was Mitch Richmond, who came out barnstorming, as he won the NBA Rookie of the Year award with a 22.0 PPG average before the trio formed the following season. Mitch was a young, exciting player that put fans into seats.
Richmond filled the lanes well, could hit almost any jumper and would sneak up to slam it over one of the opposing big men. Richmond was very fluid without the ball and was deadly with the three-point shot.
Richmond was known for being so smooth that he could make defenses fall asleep. Richmond took advantage by averaging 23.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 3.0 APG during the two years.
Hall of Famer Chris Mullin could shoot the lights out with his smooth jumper. The “C” had a scorer’s mentality and knew how to move without the ball. Mullin was a gritty player, like Larry Bird, and always made the extra effort to finish a play.
Besides his shooting efficiency, Chris was known to attack the lane, pass the ball and wear out defenders with nonstop movement without the ball. Defenders would constantly complain until most of them just gave up. It didn’t help that he would play almost every minute of every game.
Mullin used that strategy to his advantage to average 25.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 4.1 APG during the two-year run.
Stephen Curry is going into his fourth season with the potential to be the Dubs’ first breakout star since the days of Mullin. Ankle problems notwithstanding, he has the ability to be the catalyst on this year’s and future Dubs’ teams. He is a natural point guard who sees the floor well, can shoot and is a playmaker.
Curry doesn’t have the Killer Crossover of Hardaway, but he has the pullback crossover in his arsenal. Steph can also shoot the three from behind the arc and spot up anywhere on the court.
Curry’s main purpose is to push the offense forward, whether that is in the transition game or the half-court offense. By having the tools available with the ability of Thompson and Barnes, instant offense similar to Run TMC awaits.
Thompson is the oversized shooting guard who can definitely shoot like Mitch Richmond. Thompson has a very fluid release and is one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the game. During the summer Olympic practices, he even impressed division rival Kobe Bryant with his skills.
Klay will need to improve his smoothness without the ball in order to put himself in positions for open looks. He can hit shots both in front of and behind the arc with the ability to drive hard to the basket. There is no doubt he will increase his 12.5 PPG average from last season.
Thompson will continue running from baseline to wing with screens from big men David Lee or Andrew Bogut in order to catch and hit the big jumpers. The big men will also facilitate his overall movement and shot selection.
Barnes will look to take the place of Mullin on Run 2.0 with his knack to shoot the ball and his projected ability to work tirelessly during games. Barnes will have to be consistent shooting the ball and not settle for a less attractive shot.
Barnes has the 6’8” size and athletic ability to fill the lane and become a good perimeter defender. He has an almost seven-foot wingspan, which will allow him to deflect passes, steal a few more balls and shoot over taller defenders.
Barnes has the least amount of experience in the league, so it will probably take him a little longer to be as effective as Curry and Thompson. However, he has been in the spotlight since he was the nation’s best player in high school. He won’t disappoint.
Run 2.0 has the quickness, agility and the young legs to replicate Run TMC. The most important thing is they actually have legitimate big men surrounding them unlike the original unit.
Andrew Bogut and David Lee will get their points, but they will also provide the extra work down low, perform the pick-and-roll and free up the perimeter looks. Curry, Thompson and Barnes will be able to put some spectacular plays together with the talent and floor space available.
The true key to Run 2.0 is how they interact on the floor. If the players share the ball, move efficiently and try not to upstage each other, this trio will be talked about for years to come.
Now it’s time to see if Run 2.0 can stick.